Friday, July 30, 2021

Long Arm Quilting

 Whoo-hoo! I'm trained and certified to use the club's long arm! 

Let me back up - 
The community where I live has a very active quilt club, a dedicated sewing room in the Creative Arts building, and a long arm machine. New members of the club have to be certified to use the long arm. That means they have to be trained on the club's procedures and this specific machine. During Covid no training could take place. Now that most everyone here has been vaccinated, training has resumed. Since there's been an influx of new residents here in PebbleCreek there was a long wait list for training. 

My turn came up last week. My trainer Debbie and fellow student Wendy spent two afternoons training. The first lesson was about procedures and preparation. We ended that afternoon by pulling a charity quilt, checking that its backing and batting were the right size and squared up, selecting thread and a panto, and winding bobbins. 

The second lesson was hands on. Look what we did! 

Yes, there are plenty of wobbles and bobbles.  After all, we're beginners. And those tight curves were surprisingly difficult to follow on the panto. But we got it done! 

The quilt was from the club's charity to-be-quilted pile and is about 45 x 60". It took about an hour to load it on the frame due to learning, and about 1.5 hours of actual quilting time, 5 passes on the panto. 

Now I'm allowed to use the club's long arm. There are procedures for signing up for time slots, etc. and it's recommended that I have an experienced buddy in the room to call on if I have questions. I'll find another charity quilt, get on the schedule, and have an opportunity to practice.  I'll practice with pantos as recommended, but I'm looking forward to FMQ from the front of the machine, even if it's only a simple meander at first. 

Preparation ahead of time that doesn't require the use of the machine maximizes the time you can spend on the machine during your reserved time slot. I can do the prep any time, then find a buddy and get on the schedule. 

I have to say, I have much greater appreciation now for the skills of professional long arm quilters, and for all the prep they have to do to get the quilt and the machine ready to quilt. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Quilts for Guys: My Turn on the "It's a Guy Thing" Blog Hop

Welcome, visitors from the "It's a Guy Thing" blog hop hosted by Carol at Just Let Me Quilt, and thank you for visiting. If you've never visited before, I'm Jan and I make a lot of donation quilts. Some are for adults and many are for kids; you can check them out in the Rocking Chair Quilts tab above. 

Agencies that work with families and children in traumatic circumstances report that there is, sadly, always a need for quilts for older boys. They get enough girly quilts and juvenile/baby quilts for toddler boys, but what about the older kid or young teen guy? 

The quilt club I belong to had a charity sew day in May for Quilts for Kids, and they asked me to teach a project. It didn't have to be for boys, but since I was making a teaching sample for the sew day I figured I'd use feature prints suitable for an older boy.

I call the pattern I taught Strippy HSTs, tutorial here. I made a teaching sample using boy-friendly prints and recycled shirts, plus scrappy low volume strips. Cars, several sports, helicopters and space ships, boomerangs, pirates, and plaids all found their way into this quilt. 

The Strippy HST pattern is beginner friendly and very forgiving. I accidentally made some blocks with the strips going in the other direction, and it came out fine, so I ended up with two quilts for guys. Lots of layout possibilities with this block!

If you would like to make a Strippy HST quilt, you can get the tutorial here. If you would like a PDF of the tutorial, please leave a comment and include your email address. I ask only that if you post your project on social media, you credit me,

I've been making donation quilts for years, many for kids, but it seems I should focus my efforts on quilts for older boys and teen guys in order to help fill the need. Will you join me in making donation quilts for Guys? 

The "It's a Guy Thing" blog hop continues from July 26-30. Check out all the posts: 

July 26


Creatin' in the Sticks

Storied Quilts

Quilted Delights

Samelia's Mum

Vroomans Quilts

Karen's Korner


July 27




Becky’s Adventures in Quilting and Travel


Words & Stitches

Days Filled With Joy


July 28


Ms P Designs USA


Lianne Makes Stuff

For The Love Of Geese

Domestic Felicity


July 29



That Fabric Feeling

Elizabeth Coughlin Designs

Quilt Schmilt

The Colorful Fabriholic

Songbird Designs


July 30


Just Let Me Quilt

Quilt Fabrication

Kathy's Kwilts and More

Patchouli Moon Studio

Food for Thought

Thank you, Carol, for hosting this blog hop! 

Monday, July 26, 2021